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Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.

Do me a favor.  I already made my roommates and all my close friends watch this trailer.  But not YOU.  So do me a favor and watch the If I Stay trailer.  Two and a half minutes, that’s it.  Here’s the link even.

Done?  Now I dare you to NOT be excited about this movie.  Because I must have seen this trailer over 10 times and each time I get butterflies in my stomach by how good I’m expecting it to be.  And using that A Great Big World song?!  Genius.

With the movie release coming up (August 22 in the US), I decided to re-read the book. The 23-year-old me loved the book.  I wanted to see if the 27-year-old me still likes it.  (As an aside, I did the same experiment with Divergent.  I re-read it before seeing the movie in theaters and I ended up HATING the movie and in all honesty, the more mature version of me saw waaay more plot holes in the novel.)

Here’s a little synopsis of If I Stay:

Like the beautifully haunting sounds of a cello, Gayle Forman’s novel If I Stay tells the tragic story of a 17 year-old girl, Mia, with a promising future as a cellist.  Mia seemingly has it all: the possibility of attending Julliard, a quirky yet supportive family, a loyal best friend, and an amazing boyfriend named Adam, who is gaining fame as the lead singer/guitarist of a local Portland band.  Before she can embark on this journey, however, a car accident occurs.  Now Mia faces a situation beyond collegiate concerns or the typical teenage angst.  Her life is in the balance as she slowly comes to realize that her fate is entirely in her hands.

What did I think of it this time around?  Well, for one, it was still as great as it was when I first read it.

The simplicity of Forman’s prose is moving.  Like a well-orchestrated piece, If I Stay interweaves sadness and hope, keeping readers invested in not only what the future holds for the heroine, but also the past that influences her.  Because of the author’s use of extended flashbacks, readers experience these moments the way Mia is experiencing it—with a sense of nostalgia and reverence.  This allows Forman the ability to set the poetic tone of the novel, lacing each memory with a touch of wisdom and sadness.  Retrospectively living out the major events of the protagonist’s life, further exemplifies how love is the foundation of each and every relationship.  Forman does an amazing job portraying the difficulty of Mia’s choice to either leave or stay, which ultimately, forces the audience to be less confident in their initial opinion.

The storyline is not exactly revolutionary but it doesn’t have to be.  The book invokes raw emotion and it’s rare to come across a book that so completely captures every facet of a character’s relationships.  Forman not only portrayed the love between Adam and Mia, but she dedicated a great part of the book discussing Mia’s love for her parents and brother — which is primarily why this novel stands out to me as a reader more so than all the other Young Adult books out there.  So often do the parental figures take a backseat to an adolescent’s coming of age in this genre.  However, in If I Stay, Mia’s relationship with her parents is just as important as her first love.  The emphasis on this parent-daughter dynamic resonates the undertone of completeness and duality throughout the novel.

So read the book and let’s meet at the theaters.  You won’t regret it.  I promise.